Preparing Neopia for the Meepits Circulation: 185,943,697 Issue: 502 | 8th day of Swimming, Y13
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From Mud to Royalty: Part Two


by thesundims

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I wasn’t even one step out of the forest when I saw Brightvale Castle; it was at least twice the size of all of Kiko Lake. I marveled at the sight for a few more moments, then dashed toward the city. The first people I came upon were a pair of Chias out on a hike. I was about to stop and say hi, but they turned away from me and started walking the other way - probably just a coincidence. I kept going because I knew that they were only the beginning - soon I would be seeing Acaras and Kacheeks, Skeiths and Nimmos, maybe even a Draik! The best part was that none of them would be dressed as if they were visiting another planet! Nobody laden with cameras and sunscreen or dressed in tacky patterned shirts with matching shorts. No. I would be in Brightvale, home of scholars and craftsmen. I was almost there; the bridge got close and closer. I zoomed over it, stopped abruptly and breathed it all in for what seemed like ages.

      When I came to my senses, I cautiously approached a group of Neopets outside a store. I poked my head into their circle and opened my mouth, but one of them, a Split Lenny, spoke first.

      “Hey, look at this fella; he kinda looks like a Skeith!”

      “I have no clue what you’re talking about; he’s clearly a JubJub in disguise. It’s not Halloween, kid,” a scary-looking Skeith replied.

      “I’m a Kiko!” I interjected before another one of them could make fun of me. “And I’d like to know where the clothing shop is.”

      They each let out a chuckle. “Don’t sweat it, kid. We were just having fun. The armory is straight up ahead and to the right.” I walked away as they let out quiet laughs.

      I spotted the armory instantly and felt foolish for not seeing it before - there was a giant helmet on top of it. I walked in to find rows of heavy suits of armor looming over me, polished from the top of the head to the tip of the toe. I kept walking and found racks of tunics, robes, and capes. I was examining a particularly simple yellow tunic when a Blue Draik came up behind me.

      “Can I help you find something?” he offered with a sincere smile, clearly not holding back a laugh. At least he was a good salesman, and his sincere welcome made me trust him, so I was honest.

      “I’m just looking for something to replace my current set of clothes.” I motioned at my colorful shirt with many frills that had been sewed shut at the bottom (tailor made Kiko clothes are very expensive, it’s much simple to make your own).

     “Well, I don’t think you want that, then,” he said as he took the tunic from my hand and carefully hung it back up, “it’s a very special Battledome weapon; the Short Sleeved Yellow Tunic can heal half the user's health if he or she is wise enough to know how to use it. This, however,” he quickly spun around and grabbed a dark red robe from the shelf on the wall, “is useless, cheap, and matches your color quite nicely.”

     I was sold. I quickly made measurements and fitted the robe perfectly; it was as if he serviced Kikos daily. I purchased the robe with half of the tiny amount of Neopoints I had and made my way out of the store wearing my spiffy new robe.

     I had just opened the door when another Draik, this one painted desert, came hurdling through the doorway and knocked me on my back.

     “I’m so sorry!” she screamed right in my ear as she offered her hand to help me up.

     “It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” I stammered.

     “Wait, are you a Kiko? I’ve only seen pictures of Kikos. To be honest, I thought I’d never see one!”

     “Yes, I am, would you like to laugh at me just like everybody else?” I said sarcastically.

     “Of course not! I’ve flown over Kiko Lake a couple times.” The blue Draik dropped the box he was carrying, quietly apologized, and then picked it back up. Clearly he didn’t approve of her leaving home. “Anyway, I never visited, but I think it’s amazing how you can live happily in your own little town. Brightvale is always flooded with mildly smart Neopets thinking that they have a shot at impressing the king or studying at the Brightvale University.”

     “We get plenty of tourists at Kiko Lake, and all they do is laugh at us and take pictures just like the people here!” I was fuming at the thought of her wanting to live in a small town like Kiko Lake; she obviously took living in one of the greatest cities in Neopia for granted.

     “It’s not the same! Your tourists come for a day, or only stay for a night! Here the so-called ‘scholars’ just keep piling up. Occasionally, one or two will realize they don’t have a chance and go home, but when they leave, ten more fill their place! And maybe they’re just laughing at you, not Kikos in general. I mean look at you, are you covered in mud or something?” She angrily swiped at me and grabbed a chunk of clay. She rolled it around in her fingers and started to say something, but then looked up and saw the giant hole in my head.

     “I’m so sorry!” she screamed yet again, slamming the clay into the hole and patting it down, “I thought you had just fallen in mud or something!”

     “It’s fine,” I muttered, shoving her away and smoothing the clay back down, “people think that a lot.” After an awkward silence, I started to turn and walk out the door.

     “You know, I know somewhere where you can paint yourself a different color - for free,” the Blue Draik said quietly from the back of the store.

     I slowly turned around. “Really?” I remembered back to how good I felt about being clay when I gave away my Green Paint Brush, but getting painted for free is a chance of a lifetime! “Where would I have to go to get painted?” I asked cautiously, hoping he wasn’t delusional.

     “In Faerieland. There’s a faerie, Naia, that guards a special fountain that has the ability to paint a Neopet nearly any color he or she wants. However, it’s rumored that she rarely lets anyone bathe in the fountain for nothing; you may have to complete a quest for her.”

     “Thank you so much! Maybe I’ll be able to return home Island - or maybe Pirate!” I turned towards the door once again, still listing colors in my head.

     “I can fly you there if you want,” the Desert Draik said as I pulled the door open.

     “Absolutely not, you are not leaving Brightvale again!” the Blue Draik shouted quickly. I could tell he had been preparing for her to say that.

     “But Dad, it’s only to Faerieland, can I please go? I promise I’ll come right back,” she whimpered, simultaneously making her eyes grow bigger and putting on a quivering frown.

     “Alright, but you’re taking him to Faerieland, going to the Fountain Faerie, then coming right back. No helping him with whatever she asks him to do and no going anywhere else, is that clear?”

     “Yes, Daddy.” She then grabbed my arm and dragged me out the door in a split second, and before I knew it we were up in the air, heading south.

     ~~~

     We flew a couple miles in silence. It felt weird having a stranger carrying me so high above the ground, and knowing she could drop me at any time.

     “I’m Zurmire, by the way. We never really met,” I said to break the silence.

     “Oh, sorry about that, I guess I was too busy apologizing and arguing with my dad. I’m Ruka, nice to meet you.” She looked back and smiled at me.

     “So why exactly is your dad so against you leaving Brightvale?” I asked.

     “Well, a couple months ago I was just flying around and ended up lost in the Haunted Woods. I was there for days and I met some really creepy people in the middle of the woods. My dad found me one night when I made a fire. He swooped down, grabbed me, and then yelled at me all the way home.”

     “Well, why didn’t you just fly home yourself, I mean if you just flew in any direction you’d be out of the woods eventually?” I inquired.

     She sighed and started explaining, “I tried, but it’s like a sea of trees. I lost my sense of direction, so I just flew one way, then I felt like I was only going deeper so I turned around. Then I thought I had already gone so far in that direction, I had to have already passed the very center, so I turned around again. Eventually I just got so tired and couldn’t fly anymore.”

     The silence took over again for another mile.

To be continued...

 
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» From Mud to Royalty: Part One
» From Mud to Royalty



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